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Thursday, July 13, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the SENIOR PLAYERS

Before I focus on the senior men, let me give a quick shout-out to Trish Johnson for her wire-to-wire win at the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship. You don't get much more dominant than that!

And now we move on to the second major of the week, the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship being played at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills MD.

3-time defending champion Bernhard Langer

It's been 15 years since a major was played at Caves Valley, so most of the players probably won't know the course. The director of golf there, Dennis Satyshur, says the course is pretty much "what you see is what you get" but, for some reason, seems to play longer than it actually is. It should play at around 7100 yards for this event, so fatigue could become an issue by Sunday.

Of course, the big story this week is Bernhard Langer's unbelievable chance to become the first player to win a Champions Tour major four times in a row. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the field can keep that dominance from getting in their heads long enough to mount a serious challenge.

So let's take a quick look at my picks this week:
  • As I did with the US Women's Open this week, I'm going to go against my normal mindset and make Kenny Perry a favorite. Perry's story sounds a lot like Danielle Kang's -- he found something the week of the last major, won that one and now tees it up again just a couple of weeks later. Kenny is streaky, and this could be the start of one of his streaks.
  • I have to include Bernhard Langer again. While Bernhard's game has been a bit off lately -- it's not horrible, he just isn't leading events after every round like usual -- the fact remains that he's won two of the season's three majors. It's just too hard to ignore a player that consistent.
  • Brandt Jobe shot a 62 in the final round of the US Senior Open, has won earlier in the year and -- perhaps most importantly -- will be paired with Perry and Langer in the first two rounds. There's a good chance this trio can feed off each other, and that could help Jobe to another good showing.
  • Tom Lehman has been playing well of late and is coming off a T4 at the US Senior Open. And he won earlier in the year, so it hasn't been that long since he hoisted a trophy.
  • And for my flier, I'm going way out on a limb with Jerry Kelly. Jerry hasn't set the tour on fire since he came out, but it takes some guys time to settle in and his last five events have been T13 or better.
To be honest, I don't see any player as a distinct favorite this week. So I'm going with Langer for two simple reasons. One, if this course plays long, his fitness level should give him an edge. And two, I simply see no compelling reason to pick anyone else to beat him. I didn't favor him to win the US Senior Open because US Opens on either tour haven't been particularly kind to him in the past. But now he's under no pressure to go undefeated in majors this year, and he's won three of these in a row.

GC's coverage starts at 1:30pm ET today. If you aren't watching the LPGA on FOX Sports 1, you'll probably be watching this major!

1 comment:

  1. http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/golf/bs-sp-caves-valley-constellation-senior-players-0711r-20170710-story.html

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